Maritime NZ people

We’d like to introduce some of the people who are doing great things at Maritime NZ, including those working behind the scenes. In support of the International Maritime Organization’s campaign to empower women in the maritime community, we’re focusing on the women of Maritime NZ throughout 2019.

Ginni Murray

Maritime Officer

Ginni Murray

Police Officer turned Maritime Officer, Ginni Murray “loves meeting and working closely with our operators”, and has been doing so for more than four years now.

One of her proudest moments with Maritime NZ so far was her involvement in the prosecution of a cruise ship company following the fatality of one of its crew members. “I’m hopeful the message from the prosecution and our safety bulletin will save lives,” Ginni said.

We talked to Ginni about her roles - both as a Police Officer and a Maritime Officer - and discovered what she likes best about working for the maritime industry.

What’s your proudest moment at Maritime NZ?
Something that comes to mind is a case that hopefully helped save lives. It involved an incident on board a cruise ship - the result of poor maintenance - which led to a fatality of one of its crew. Maritime NZ promptly released a technical bulletin to raise awareness of the incident and carried out an investigation into the cruise ship company.

The company pleaded guilty and the victim’s family received ‘emotional harm reparation’ of $110,000 and ‘reparation for consequential loss’ of $250,000.

This type of incident should never have happened, and I’m hopeful the message from the prosecution and our safety bulletin will help prevent it from happening again - and save lives.

Please tell us a bit about your background…
I was a police officer for almost eight years - mostly in the Child Protection Team and the Criminal Investigations Branch dealing with serious crime. I then wanted a change and the opportunity arose to work for Maritime NZ. After being a Specialist Investigator in the Compliance Team for four years, I jumped at the chance to work as a Maritime Officer. I saw it as an opportunity to engage with our stakeholders and operators face-to-face, plus learn more about ships and all manner of vessels.

What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love meeting and working closely with our operators. They’re passionate about what they do, which is exciting to see. I also enjoy the opportunity to work with colleagues who have diverse backgrounds within either the maritime industry or compliance. It’s great to learn from the people around me, and what I can offer them.

What do you like best about working for the maritime industry?
I like the variety of work Maritime NZ offers, which brings me into contact with a range of people, whether they be our key stakeholders, other government agencies, operators, surveyors, or other Maritime NZ staff I call on for advice, such as the policy team or technical staff.

What does a typical day look like and what are you currently focusing on?
The great thing about being a Maritime Officer is no two days are the same. I could be working on an audit with an operator at Ngawi, on an investigation, or accompanying a fellow Maritime Officer on a Port State Control inspection. I’m about to head to the Chatham Islands for a week of work, which I’m greatly looking forward to.

What is your biggest achievement to date?
While in the Police, I particularly appreciated my time in the Child Protection Team. We worked hard and I know a lot of children’s lives were improved after the intervention of the Police, working in tandem with Oranga Tamariki. I was in charge of some cases that were difficult for a variety of reasons. To have offenders sent to prison or deported because of what they’d done to young children was a satisfying outcome.

What are the values that drive you?
Having fun while you live life is a good thing. This in tandem with having respect, integrity and having a moral compass is also important to me.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Apart from family life, I like horse riding and running. I’ve just completed the San Francisco marathon which was hard work, especially running over the Golden Gate Bridge. I also keep beehives at the Soup Kitchen community garden in Wellington. I donate the honey I harvest to the Soup Kitchen for the breakfasts and dinners they serve. I’m also fond of a good wine or craft beer in my down time.

Katy Bond

Senior Training Officer, Marine Pollution Response Service

MNZ staff at training exercise

When studying for her Master’s degree in Marine Biology in North Wales, Katy had no idea she’d end up with a career in oil spill response. Nor did she picture herself living in the remote Shetland Islands and, later, in New Zealand.

So it was luck on our part that an interest in killer whale research set UK-born Katy off on a path that led her to Maritime NZ. Now a Senior Training Officer in our Marine Pollution Response Service team, Katy plays a crucial role in helping us to minimise the impact of oil spills on our marine environment.

We talked to Katy about her extensive experience in oil spill response and what she enjoys most about her role with our Marine Pollution Response Service team, including the work she’s most proud of.

Please tell us a bit about your background…
After completing my Masters in Marine Biology I joined Southhampton Oil Spill Response Limited Operations team, and learned how to respond to oil spills in different environments. I was also involved in oil industry exercises, training in such unique environments as Montana and Quebec, where the spills were in ice. I then went on to help train others in Seattle, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Cape Town and Ft Lauderdale.

In 2016, I took on a secondment role in the Shetland Islands (if you don’t know where this is, I’d recommend a Google search) at a new response base set up by BP. As Base Manager, I was responsible for developing a database of all of BP’s equipment on the Shetlands, as well as managing a procedures and maintenance programme. I enjoyed the challenge of implementing new procedures and ensuring the warehouse and operations inside and around it were in line with health and safety best practice. At the same time I trained Shetland Island Council staff and developed shoreline response plans.

People often ask me what was it like living in such a remote part of the world with such a small population. My answer? I loved it!

After a whirlwind move (from Shetland to New Zealand via Southampton), I stepped into my current role of Senior Training Officer in the Marine Pollution Response Service team in 2017.

What does a typical day look like and what are you currently focusing on?
At the moment my days are focused on developing material for National Response Team training as well as getting involved with our regional council training and exercises. I enjoy the practical side of response, so I get out and about with the kit when I can.

What do you enjoy most about your role?
Working in the government sector has been a big change. Learning about the government’s role and, in general, about how New Zealand operates in regard to marine oil spills has been interesting and good to learn about.

What do you like best about working for the maritime industry?
The fact that I can be inside one day and outside the next!

What’s your proudest moment at Maritime NZ?
Having not been with Maritime NZ very long, my proudest moment will be when we’ve developed and implemented the National Response Team training programme. It won’t be ready for a year or so, but we’re certainly on the right path to achieving something Maritime NZ can be proud of.

What is your biggest achievement to date?
F

Kelly Garmonsway

Programme Manager, America’s Cup

Kelly Garmonsway

When she was a child, Kelly wanted to run away to join the French Foreign Legion. But being a girl and growing up in New Zealand, she had to make do with life on land - until 1997 when she signed up for the Royal New Zealand Naval Reserves.

Kelly spent the next ten years as a reservist, sometimes spending weeks at a time at sea. It was an experience that would set her on a path to Maritime NZ, where she’s currently Programme Manager for the America’s Cup.

We talked to Kelly about her extensive career - on land as well as at sea - and what a typical day looks like for the leader of the 36 th America’s Cup Project Team.

Please tell us a bit about your background…
I was raised in Karitane, a small fishing village north of Dunedin, and joined the Royal New Zealand Naval Reserve in 1997. I was cross-trained in two branches and served on a vessel on which the key roles were shared, so I worked as everything - an administrator, deckhand, medic, cook and a firefighter.

It was an interesting time to be a reservist. Our vessels were survey vessels - they were designed to survey routes in and out of harbours for mines (this was called ‘mine counter-measures’) but that wasn’t all they did. Reserve vessels served a variety of purposes. They were used in previous America’s Cups as on-water command centres and were also involved in the search for Ben Smart and Olivia Hope after the pair disappeared in the Marlborough Sounds.

An event that sticks in my memory was the recovery operation for the Southern Air Cessna that lost power and landed in the Foveaux Strait. HMNZS Moa found the plane and lay out the markers for recovering the aircraft.

More recently, I was part of the team responsible for implementing the Royal Commission’s recommendations on the Pike River Coal Mine tragedy. I then led a large scale, two-year multi-agency programme, to implement the Underground Mines Emergency Protocol, which was developed in response to one of the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

My career with Maritime NZ began in early 2016 as a Senior Operational Policy Advisor.

What does a typical day look like and what are you currently focusing on?
A typical day starts with an early wakeup call to take one of the most scenic commuter train trips in New Zealand - between my home in Masterton and the office in Wellington. At work, I’m currently focusing all my time on preparing for the 36th America’s Cup, which involves a significant amount of industry and cross-government discussion and project planning as well as policy development and implementation. I feel really privileged to be working with such a great team of passionate, enthusiastic and driven people.

At the end of the day, I relax on the long train journey home and wind down with my three wonderful children.

What do you like best about working for the maritime industry?
The people involved in the maritime sector - both Maritime NZ staff and industry members - are authentic and passionate about what they do.

What’s your proudest moment at Maritime NZ?
It’s really hard to pinpoint a single proud moment, given every bit of work we do contributes to a much larger picture. But I was really pleased to have worked with the New Zealand Maritime Pilot’s Association - and to assist them to deliver their own industry guidelines that could be endorsed by Maritime NZ.

What are the values that drive you?
I find the words of well-known astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, go some way toward reflecting my own values:

“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you.”

What do you find most challenging about your role?
Nearly every core piece of work I’ve completed since starting at Maritime NZ has been challenging, but it has also been an opportunity to increase my skills. The key opportunities presented in these challenges usually enhance my life in three areas:

  • building better relationships
  • increasing technical competency
  • increasing self-awareness.

What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy the challenge of working to tight timeframes. I also really enjoy the high level of people management and engagement involved my role. Above all, it’s the people I work with internally and externally that make this a job I love doing.

What is your biggest achievement to date (personal or professional)?
Personally, I think my biggest achievement is my three wonderful children. My oldest son is a talented actor, who has acted for, and alongside, some internationally renowned kiwi acting elites. My daughter is talented in mathematics, coding and the sciences, and is in every gifted class made available to her, and my youngest son is a very talented footballer who has recently received dispensation from Wellington Football to play up two grades in the premier grades. He’s also a fantastic all-rounder academically and a great little showman.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I really enjoy taking my children on outdoor adventures and exploring the world around me. I also love being at home. My primary source of stress relief is cooking, so I do a lot of technical cooking that requires intense concentration. It’s a form of active relaxing that helps my brain to rest.

Katy Bond

Senior Training Officer, Marine Pollution Response Service

MNZ staff at training exercise

When studying for her Master’s degree in Marine Biology in North Wales, Katy had no idea she’d end up with a career in oil spill response. Nor did she picture herself living in the remote Shetland Islands and, later, in New Zealand.

So it was luck on our part that an interest in killer whale research set UK-born Katy off on a path that led her to Maritime NZ. Now a Senior Training Officer in our Marine Pollution Response Service team, Katy plays a crucial role in helping us to minimise the impact of oil spills on our marine environment.

We talked to Katy about her extensive experience in oil spill response and what she enjoys most about her role with our Marine Pollution Response Service team, including the work she’s most proud of.

Please tell us a bit about your background…
After completing my Masters in Marine Biology I joined Southhampton Oil Spill Response Limited Operations team, and learned how to respond to oil spills in different environments. I was also involved in oil industry exercises, training in such unique environments as Montana and Quebec, where the spills were in ice. I then went on to help train others in Seattle, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Cape Town and Ft Lauderdale.

In 2016, I took on a secondment role in the Shetland Islands (if you don’t know where this is, I’d recommend a Google search) at a new response base set up by BP. As Base Manager, I was responsible for developing a database of all of BP’s equipment on the Shetlands, as well as managing a procedures and maintenance programme. I enjoyed the challenge of implementing new procedures and ensuring the warehouse and operations inside and around it were in line with health and safety best practice. At the same time I trained Shetland Island Council staff and developed shoreline response plans.

People often ask me what was it like living in such a remote part of the world with such a small population. My answer? I loved it!

After a whirlwind move (from Shetland to New Zealand via Southampton), I stepped into my current role of Senior Training Officer in the Marine Pollution Response Service team in 2017.

What does a typical day look like and what are you currently focusing on?
At the moment my days are focused on developing material for National Response Team training as well as getting involved with our regional council training and exercises. I enjoy the practical side of response, so I get out and about with the kit when I can.

What do you enjoy most about your role?
Working in the government sector has been a big change. Learning about the government’s role and, in general, about how New Zealand operates in regard to marine oil spills has been interesting and good to learn about.

What do you like best about working for the maritime industry?
The fact that I can be inside one day and outside the next!

What’s your proudest moment at Maritime NZ?
Having not been with Maritime NZ very long, my proudest moment will be when we’ve developed and implemented the National Response Team training programme. It won’t be ready for a year or so, but we’re certainly on the right path to achieving something Maritime NZ can be proud of.

What is your biggest achievement to date?
From a professional point of view, it has to be the Shetland Response Base as I saw it grow from a warehouse with equipment to a fully-functioning base. The team that supported me was, ultimately, the people I handed the base over to at the end of my secondment, so seeing them develop and learn more about response to the point of taking over made me proud.

What are the values that drive you?
I thrive on doing really well at a job and would rather see a job done well to the end than do half at 100% and the rest at 50%. If I take on a task, I strive to do it to the best of my ability. In some cases this serves me really well. In others, not so well, especially when other people are not on the same page. I’ve learned that everything can’t be perfect all the time.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Since moving to New Zealand, my husband and I have spent most of our weekends and holidays exploring the country. We love travelling and get itchy feet if we don’t have a new place to explore - our next place to visit is Samoa!

Nikki Tuhou

HR Advisor - Recruitment

Woman on wharf

Nikki Tuhou works behind the scenes in our busy People Capability Team. As well as helping to keep our staff members “engaged, resilient and valued,” she takes pride in ensuring that Maritime NZ attracts the best possible talent.

Nikki has been with us since 2017, and says it’s an honour to work alongside such “passionate, dedicated and hugely talented” people.

We asked Nikki about what she does at Maritime NZ, including what she likes best about working for the industry, what her proudest moment is, and what her typical day looks like (and discovered there’s no typical day for Nikki…).

What do you like best about working for the maritime industry?
The maritime industry plays a crucial role in our economy, the people are passionate, and there’s such diversity (which, thankfully, is reflected in our organisation). I don’t have a maritime background, so I’m really enjoying learning something new about the industry, and the people in it, every day.

What’s your proudest moment at Maritime NZ?
I’m lucky - I get to be proud of the work I do every time a successful candidate signs their employment contract and every time I create a solution that improves a staff member’s career.

What does a typical day look like and what are you currently focusing on?
There’s no typical day for me. I could be helping our managers bring more great talent into Maritime NZ by writing adverts, interviewing candidates or checking references. Or I could be providing employment relations or other advice to our managers and staff to ensure everyone is capable, engaged, resilient and valued.

I’m currently focused on two areas - managing a busy recruitment work programme and supporting an organisation-wide programme with tight deadlines and high expectations!

What do you enjoy most about your role?
I get to deal with all parts of our fascinating and diverse organisation. The people we have on board are passionate, dedicated, and hugely talented and it’s an honour to be working alongside them.

What do you find most challenging?
It’s a challenge to not say ‘yes’ to every exciting piece of work I hear about! There aren’t enough hours in the day.

What is your biggest achievement to date (personal or professional)?
I’m a proud mum to a feisty, intelligent, caring child who is easily my greatest achievement. Career-wise, I once spent a year working a demanding full-time role while studying two Master’s-level papers a trimester (because I thought I should complete my qualifications in half the usual time!). That was a huge achievement, and a major lesson in never, ever taking on that much again.

What are the values that drive you?
Maritime NZ’s values of integrity, commitment and respect resonate with me, along with trust, loyalty, curiosity, courage and perseverance.

Please tell us about your background…
A born and bred Wellingtonian, I spent my early career temping and contracting to gain exposure to a variety of roles and industries. I then worked for a wide range of companies - from Australia’s largest telco, to an employee-owned investment banking and share broking firm, to global recruitment agencies. Working with people, building relationships and finding collaborative solutions were the common themes throughout.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I’m happiest at the beach or by the ocean. I love spending time outside with my son (with my heart in my mouth) as he masters tricks at speed on his bike or scooter. I’m also partial to catching up with friends over loud, live music.

Michelle Lough

Operations Advisor

Woman on wharf

Michelle Lough’s grandfather was a ship’s agent, and her dad went to sea aged 15 as ‘ship’s boy’, later following in his father’s footsteps. So it’s little wonder that, despite her “father’s protest”, Michelle found herself working in the industry.

Michelle has been putting her lifetime of industry experience to good use at Maritime NZ for nearly 10 years now, and currently belongs to our Policy Delivery Guidance and Support team.

We asked Michelle about her background in the maritime industry and discovered she was even married at sea! Michelle also shared her proudest moment at Maritime NZ, what her typical day entails, and what she likes most about working for the maritime sector.

Please tell us a bit about your background...
I grew up in Nelson surrounded by the maritime industry. My grandfather was a ship’s agent and my father went to sea aged 15 as ‘ship’s boy’ (yes, that was an actual position), and went on to become a shipping agent. So I guess it was inevitable, despite my father’s protest, I’d end up working in the industry.

I started my career, nearly 30 years ago, as Shipping Officer for the NZ Kiwifruit Marketing Board (now Zespri). I then moved to Auckland and took on the role of Vessel Co-ordinator for the Nedlloyd business unit at Seabridge. When Seabridge announced it was closing its doors, I decided to run away to sea. Well, to clarify - I joined my partner Richard*, a Master Mariner, for the next 10 years as he worked onboard a variety of world-wide trading vessels. I earned my keep by doing the paperwork for each port and reporting for victualing (food provision), bond and crew wages. We were married onboard a Renaissance cruise ship off Cadiz where Richard was Staff Captain and I worked wherever there was need - escorting shore excursions, purser, spa receptionist and even filling in for the nurse.

Eventually Richard’s employers offered him a position at their head office in Cyprus to implement the International Ship and Port Facility (ISPS) Code. I became Crewing Superintendent for another ship management company and was managing the crewing department before we returned to New Zealand. I then started a contract with Maritime NZ, working in the Seafarer Licensing team and, as they say, the rest is history.

*Richard Lough has also worked for Maritime NZ for the past 10 years. He’s a Senior Technical Advisor in our Maritime Systems Assurance team.

What’s your proudest moment at Maritime NZ?
I was part of the large team from across Maritime NZ that was responsible for implementing the new requirement for float-free EPIRBs on fishing vessels**. We knew that making EPIRBs compulsory had the potential to save lives and this gave the project a real sense of purpose. I’m really thankful that a float-free EPIRB was activated when a fishing vessel overturned off the coast of the Chatham Islands recently. The alert from the EPIRB was received by our Rescue Coordination Centre and helped save the lives of three fishermen.

What are the values that drive you?
My father - the shipping agent - instilled a really strong work ethic. You do what’s necessary to get the job done, you are loyal and you treat people fairly.

What does a typical day look like and what are you currently focusing on?
I’m an early starter - I try to do my serious reading first thing while it’s quiet. There’s a fair amount of research, reading and planning required in my role. I work closely with subject matter experts across Maritime NZ and within the industry, so meetings - whether formal or impromptu - are a daily occurrence.

My work programme currently includes drafting a position statement on stability requirements when towing, refining a checklist for auditing ‘recognised organisations’, and external consultation on a guideline for surveyors and operators.

What do you find most challenging about your role?
The variety of work and subject matter is both challenging and rewarding. I’m currently doing some work in the Design and Construction space. I really enjoy the research and getting into the detail. However, I find it quite challenging to get a good understanding of a technical subject I’m not familiar with.

What do you like best about working for the maritime industry?
It’s the people. I’ve had some great opportunities working both within New Zealand and overseas. The thing that’s always resonated with me is the passion people have in the industry. Most of us rely on the sea or waterways as a source of income, a place to play or a means to transport goods and services. I believe there’s a real connection for those working in the marine environment.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I like pottering in the garden, fishing (when conditions are right), cooking for family and friends, and watching a good game of rugby while curled up on the couch.

** Float-free EPIRB distress beacons that can activate automatically became compulsory on commercial fishing vessels from 1 January 2019. This applies to those vessels between 7.5- 24 metres operating outside enclosed waters.

Jo Sweetman-King

Operational and Strategic Planner

Woman on boat

One of the many talented women in our crew, Jo Sweetman-King has spent half her life working for Maritime NZ (she won’t admit how many years that is!) and was recently seconded to the role of Operational and Strategic Planner for the Maritime Systems Assurance team.

We asked Jo about her role at Maritime NZ, including what her proudest moment is, what her typical day entails, and what she likes most about working for the maritime industry.

What’s your proudest moment at Maritime NZ?
I’m really proud of the work I did to arrange the Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding meeting Maritime NZ hosted in Queenstown in 2014. The meeting is held in a different signatory country each year and involves delegates from all signatory countries. I’m pleased to say that with two years of planning the meeting went off without a hitch and all the delegates enjoyed visiting New Zealand.

What is your biggest achievement to date (personal or professional)?
My biggest achievement is raising my two boys, who are now 12 years old and soon to be 15 years old. Some days they present their own challenges but they are my pride and joy.

What are the values that drive you?
I’m a firm believer of the three Maritime NZ values - respect, commitment and integrity - both personally and professionally.

What does a typical day look like and what are you currently focusing on?
I’ve just started a secondment to a role in my team that didn’t previously exist. At the moment, there are no typical days. I am busy preparing the Business Plan for the coming financial year and planning the work for our group.

What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy working with my team and across the organisation. No two days are ever the same at Maritime NZ and I love the variety.

What do you find most challenging?
To be honest, one of my biggest challenges can be wrangling everyone’s calendars to get them all in the same place at the same time!

What do you like best about working for the maritime industry?
I find the industry quite fascinating. It’s such a vast industry - we can be working on an issue related to fishing vessels one day and a cruise ship the next.

Please tell us a bit about your background…
After leaving high school I completed an office administration course at Hutt Valley Polytech (now Weltec). I then put my skills to work in a variety of industries before joining what was then known as the Maritime Safety Authority.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I’ve recently retired from 20 years of playing indoor netball once a week, so I’m looking for something to fill the exercise void. Besides that, I like to cook and hang out with my family and friends.

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